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Which U.S. Airlines Offer the Most Legroom in Economy Class?

JetBlue was found to have the highest average legroom of any major U.S. carrier

January 10, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Robert Penaloza / Unsplash

Many airlines in the United States don’t offer sufficient legroom in their coach class. However, some airlines prioritize comfort for their economy class passengers. Travel analysis site Upgraded Points has broken down the numbers to find out which U.S. airlines offer the most legroom in economy class.

The Upgraded Points team analyzed data from the ten busiest domestic routes in the U.S. by total number of seats, using the Google Chrome extension ‘Legrooms for Google Flights’ to calculate each airline’s average seat pitch—the distance between any point on a seat and the same point on the seat directly in front or behind.

Each airline employs a variety of aircraft in their fleets, with varying legroom. For example, the Embraer 190 had the longest average seat pitch at 32 inches, compared to just 28 inches on the Airbus A320neo.

While the more premium airlines may have been expected to have the most amount of legroom on average—and this may well be true for their business class and first class offerings—it was, in fact, low-cost carrier JetBlue that was found to offer the most legroom for economy passengers.

Photo: Airbus A321neo LR. Courtesy of JetBlue.

With an average seat pitch of 32.3 inches, JetBlue’s average economy seat pitch is more than four inches more generous than those of Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines.

Although four inches may not seem significant, just a couple of extra inches of legroom can greatly enhance comfort, especially for long-haul flights. JetBlue, which has a modern fleet comprising Airbus A220, A320, and A321 aircraft, provides extensive legroom to its passengers.

The next best airline in economy legroom was another low-cost carrier,  Southwest Airlines, with an average seat pitch of 31.8 inches. While Southwest has been in the news over the last year largely for the wrong reasons, its generous legroom adds to other great perks, such as free checked bags and flight changes.

Photo: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines

Alaska Airlines and Delta tied for third place, with an average seat pitch of 31 inches each. In fourth and fifth place were airline giants American Airlines and United Airlines, with slightly more compact average seat pitches of 30.2 and 30.1 inches, respectively.

Getting even smaller, Hawaiian Airlines offered an average seat pitch of 29 inches, followed by ultra-low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines in joint last place, with an average of 28 inches each.

Photo: Airbus A330, Extra Comfort cabin. Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

However, while flying with these airlines may not be the most comfortable experience, they consistently offer some of the lowest fares, so they are still a viable option for many, especially when flying short-haul.

The U.S. Airlines with the Most Legroom:

Rank Airline Average seat pitch
1 JetBlue Airways 32.3”
2 Southwest Airlines 31.8”
3 Alaska Airlines 31.0”
3 Delta Air Lines 31.0”
4 American Airlines 30.2”
5 United Airlines 30.1”
6 Hawaiian Airlines 29.0”
7 Frontier Airlines 28.0”
7 Spirit Airlines 28.0”